• Key words: melatonin — diurnal rhythm —immunity—chicken

Skwado-Solita K, Thaela M-J, GXuchowska B, Stepien D, Jagura M. Effect of dose and time of melatonin injections on the diurnal rhythm of immunity in chicken. J Pineal Res 1991: 10:3&35.


The effect of daily melatonin injections on the diurnal rhythm of immune parameters was examined in White Leghorn cockerels, kept from hatching in L:D 12:12 conditions. Subcutaneous injections of melatonin were made at the beginning of darkness or 4 h earlier for four weeks starting from one week of life. The melatonin dosage in one group was raised (10, 13, 16, and 20 ng per bird daily, respectively) during four consecutive weeks. The two other doses were 10 and 500 times higher and were increased every week as well. Control birds received equivalent injections of vehicle. Three-week-old chickens were immunized ip with sheep red blood cells and reimmunized one week later. Five-week-old birds were sacrificed during a 24 h period every 4 h. The existence of the diurnal rhythm was evaluated by cosinor analysis. The diurnal rhythm of total white blood cells and serum agglutinins was more dependent on the time of melatonin injections than on the hormone used. The effect of melatonin injections on the level of immune parameters examined was also dependent on the time of sample collection. Results obtained indicate the participation of pineal gland in the regulation of the diurnal rhythm of the examined indices of avian immune system function that exhibit diurnal changes in sensitivity to exogenous melatonin.